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Cycling | Tour de France

Chris Froome © Getty Images

Froome clinches fourth TDF crown



Chris Froome put on a near-perfect performance to claim his fourth Tour de France and move within one title of cycling's greatest on Sunday as Team Sky tightened their grip on the classic race.

The Briton suffered a few hiccups but was always in control over the three-week race thanks to his excellent teammates who sheltered him when it mattered, leaving the lanky rider to make the difference in the time trials.

Sky, who have the biggest budget of the peloton, have now snatched five of the last six titles and came within a whisker of placing two riders on the podium as Spain's Mikel Landa missed out on the top three by one second, according to provisional timings.

Froome is now one title behind Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spain's Miguel Indurain and French duo Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault.

He is the first to win three consecutive titles since Indurain, who prevailed from 1991-95. The disgraced Lance Armstrong's seven titles since then have been erased from the record book.

"I'm speechless, it's amazing," Froome said after getting off his bike and hugging his wife Michelle and son Kellan.

"The Champs Elysees never disappoints, there is something magical when you have spent three weeks thinking about this moment, it's just so rewarding every time.

"Each win has been so unique, such a different battle and this will be remembered as the closest and most hard-fought."

Colombian Rigoberto Uran finished second overall, 54 seconds behind, and France's Romain Bardet, runner-up last year, was third, 2:20 off the pace after both riders lost time to Froome in Saturday's final time trial.

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Sunday's largely processional stage from Montgeron – where the first Tour started in 1903 – to the Champs Elysees in Paris was won by Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen in a bunch sprint.

The 103-km ride was the occasion for Froome to sip rose Champagne with his teammates as the race began only when the peloton, who went through the Grand Palais, reached the Champs Elysees.

Froome suffered two mechanical problems at key points in the race but his rivals failed to take full advantage of the failures.

In the ninth stage, they waited for him after Fabio Aru attacked near the top of the final climb, and his main rivals did not go for the throat a week later after the Briton broke a spoke in his rear wheel and found himself trailing by 45 seconds.

He was beaten in a brutal uphill finish in Peyragudes as the 26-year-old Bardet won the stage, showing he has the potential to win the Tour.

Bardet and the other overall contenders were too weak in the time trials however. Froome was well aware of that and he took few risks, knowing he would settle the score on the penultimate day in Marseille.

France had a great Tour with five stage wins, including a double by Warren Barguil, who won the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification and emerged as a popular figure, bringing back memories of Richard Virenque.

Australian Michael Matthews's versatility earned him the green jersey for the points classification, helped by the fact that world champion Peter Sagan was kicked out of the race after elbowing Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish.

Britain's Simon Yates won the white jersey for the best under-25 rider after finishing seventh overall, one year after his twin brother Adam achieved the same feat.

General Classification winner (Yellow Jersey): Chris Froome (GBR /TEAM SKY)
Points Classification winner (Green Jersey): Michael Matthews (AUS/ TEAM SUNWEB)
Youth Classification winner (White Jersey): Simon Yates (GBR/ ORICA – SCOTT)
Mountain Classification winner (Polka Dot jersey): Warren Barguil (FRA/ TEAM SUNWEB)

2017 STAGE WINNERS

Stage 1: July 1, Dusseldorf (Ger) - Dusseldorf 14km Individual time trial
Winner:Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky
Stage 2: July 2, Dusseldorf - Liege (Bel) 203.5km
Winner:Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step
Stage 3: July 3, Verviers (Bel) - Longwy (Fra) 212.5km
Winner:Peter Sagan (SVK) Bora
Stage 4: July 4, Mondorf Led Bains - Vittel 207.5km
Winner:Arnaud Demare (FRA) FDJ
Stage 5: July 5, Vittel - La Planche Des Belles Filles 160.5km
Winner:Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana
Stage 6: July 6, Vesoul - Troyes 216km
Winner:Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step
Stage 7: July 7, Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges 213.5km
Winner:Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step
Stage 8: July 8, Dole Station Des Rousses 187.5km
Winner:Lilian Calmejane (FRA) Directe Energie
Stage 9: July 9, Natua - Chambery 181.5km
Winner:Rigoberto Uran (COL) Cannondale
Rest day: July 10 Stage 10: July 11, Periguex - Bergerac 178km
Winner:Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step
Stage 11: July 12, Eymet - Pau 203.5km
Winner:Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step
Stage 12: July 13, Pau - Peyragoudes 214.5km
Winner:Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R
Stage 13: July 14, Saint Girons - Foix 101km
Winner:Warren Barguil (FRA) Sunweb
Stage 14: July 15, Blagnac - Rodez 181.5km
Winner:Michael Matthews (AUS) Sunweb
Stage 15: July 16, Laissac-Severac L'Eglise Le Puy en Velay 189.5km
Winner:Bauke Mollema (NED) Trek
Second rest day: July 17
Stage 16: Le Puy en Velay - Romans Sur Isere 165km
Winner:Michael Matthews (AUS) Sunweb
Stage 17: July 19, La Mure - Serre Chevalier 183km
Winner:Primoz Roglic (SLO) Lotto NL Jumbo
Stage 18: July 20, Briancon - Izoard 179.5km
Winner:Warren Barguil (FRA) Sunweb
Stage 19: July 21, Embrun - Salon de Provence 222.5km
Winner:Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Dimension Data
Stage 20: July 22, Marseille - Marseille 22.5km Individual time trial
Winner:Maciej Bodnar (POL) Bora
Stage 21: July 23, Montgeron - Champs-Elyees, 103km
Winner:Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Lotto NL Jumbo

WINNERS ROLL

2017: Chris Froome (GBR)
2016: Chris Froome (GBR)
2015: Chris Froome (GBR)
2014: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
2013: Chris Froome (GBR)
2012: Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
2011: Cadel Evans (AUS)
2010: Andy Schleck (LUX) *
2009: Alberto Contador (ESP)
2008: Carlos Sastre (ESP)
2007: Alberto Contador (ESP)
* Schleck awarded victory after Contador stripped of win for doping



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